Trust Fall

Every day we encounter hundreds of opportunities to trust.  We trust when we sit down that the chair will hold us.  We trust that when we turn the faucet on that clean water will come out.  These are the “little” things in life that we trust to happen.  We trust that our spouse, friend, boss, co-worker are trustworthy and honest with us. We know that as we live life we will encounter days when trust is broken.  God is the one that we can always trust.  He is always faithful no matter what.  His Word is true and sure.  Isaiah 30:15 says “in returning and resting in Me you shall be saved; in quietness and in trusting confidence shall be your strength.”

I Am Flourishing

There are moments when all of us believe and feel like we are flourishing in our life.  We can look at different areas of our life; our marriage, family, work, etc. and “feel” like we are flourishing.  There are other times and moments that we may feel like these areas of life are a dead decaying wasteland.  As Christ followers we do not live by our feelings.  We live with an attitude according to God’s Word.  This is not an easy task when floods of emotions and feeling come reigning down on our heart and mind. God says that His peace that passes all our understanding will guard our heart and mind in Christ Jesus.  We have to turn our face and heart toward Him.  As we are looking full into His face his peace washes over us and guards our heart and mind from these thoughts.

flourishing

 

Psalm 52:8 says, ” I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever.” God’s presence is where we flourish.  his presence is where we thrive and grow.  The olive tree produces flowery blooms as well as its fruit, the olive.  When an olive tree is flourishing it is producing both.  This comparison in Psalm 52 show us that if we remain in God’s presence we will produce flowery spiritual blooms and fruit.  When we constantly remember to turn our face to Him, His peace overwhelms and we live in His presence.  He is not looking for perfection but persistence.  This constant attention on Him causes our heart and mind to focus on His unfailing love.  We can trust that no matter what happens in life His love never fails.  The gives us a place to flourish.

We think we flourish when the things in or life look right.  We think when relationships, kids, finances, career are all feeling right we are flourishing.  We just need to turn our heart and mind on God and His unfailing love.  This keeps us in His presence.  Then we flourish like an olive tree in the house of God!

 

What I Know For Sure

There are not many things in life that are “a sure thing”.  There are people in our life that we can trust and have proven to be reliable.  So you may say, well, my spouse, or this friend is a sure thing.  I am not here to say they are not trustworthy, or that you cannot count on them. In life there is only one that is always forever true and sure.  Hebrews 6:13-20 tells us of God’s promise to Abraham.  When people make promises they will say, “I swear to God”.  In verse 13 it tells us that God swore by himself since there was no one higher than Him.  God promised Abraham that He would for sure bless Abraham and that Abraham would have may descendants.

We are reading this with an advantage.  We already know the outcome and that God did in fact keep His promise.  Abraham on the other hand was an old man along with his wife Sara.  Abraham had no human reason to believe that what God said would happen.  He had the promise of God!  It is impossible fr God to lie. God made an oath to Abraham that He would do what He said.  Throughout Abraham and Sara’s life there were times of doubt.  Out of this doubt they took situations and made decisions out of fear instead of trust in God.  God’s promise was ALWAYS sure.

I began thinking of the things I know for sure as a daughter of The King.  I know:

God loves me

God will never leave me

God is faithful

God keeps His promises

God forgives me

God’s grace covers me

God’s mercy is new every morning

We can trust in the unchanging faithfulness of God’s promises.   We are anchored to God through what Jesus did on the cross.  Jesus is our hope and our hope is our anchor.  We make promises everyday.  Likewise, promises are made to us.  some are kept and some are broken.  In this world of broken promises there is one where certainty of promises are sure.  The one is God.  We can count on Him at all times and in all ways.  We have to determine to wait patiently to receive the promise, because God will come through on His promise.  That is what I know for sure!

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Remember When

I think back to the Chris Farley days on SNL. Chris would do a sketch and ask remember when and repeat it and ask if several different insignificant moments were remembered. If we are honest at all, we would admit we forget the things we would like to remember and remember  things we would like to forget. We tend to dwell on and camp out in memories of what we consider “great” times. Sometimes we live there and never move on with our life. In Joshua chapter four there is story that gives us God’s plan for remembrance. The Israelites crossed the Jordan and when they had all crossed over safely they took stones from the river and built a monument.  This monument was a testimony to God’s guidance, provision, and love.

In our lives we experience seasons, just like in nature. Our life and world are ever changing and it can be challenging to manage these changes.  One thing that remains unchanged is God.  As we  live through theses seasons we have moments of great joy and sorrow.  As we watch our kids, parents, friends, and  family grow older it brings a mixture of emotions.  God created us to be able to remember and be able to recollect moments of life.  This ability is a wonderful gift from God.  we can look back in our life and remember how God healed, provided, protected, encouraged, and spoke to us.  Like with anything else it can also be a hindrance to us.  We can dwell on the negative instead of the positive. We can constantly wish that we were still in that time in our life and miss what God is doing in the present.

God’s plan is that we remember and give Him praise for what He has done.  Then we continue to follow Him today.  Don’t be so caught up in what God did then that you miss what God is doing today.  Thank Him, build a monument of thanksgiving and praise, and then move on.  Don’t allow the monument to keep you where you are. The Israelites didn’t stay on the bank of the river when they crossed over.  They moved on and possessed the land.

Determine today to praise God for what He has done and then move on to posses the land He has given you today!

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Stand In The River

In Joshua 3 the Israelites were camping at theJordan River before they crossed over. They were three days and the officers gave instructions to the people.  They told the people when they saw the Levitical Priests carrying the ark of the covenant move from your positions and follow it.  You will know where to go.  Joshua told the Israelites to consecrate themselves for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things.  Joshua told the priests when you reach the edge of the river go and stand in the river.   God gave clear instructions to His people where to go and what to do.

God is speaking every day.  Anyone who will open their ears to hear con hear what He is saying.  We have to choose to hear.  We cannot be consumed with life and hear God.  We have to allow Him to consume us.  So many things in life take our energy, emotion, time and thought.  Choose today to allow God to take all of your effort and striving.  Strive and spend your energy on Him.  Then you can stand and watch Him go amazing things in your life, family, church, city  and work place.  We have to consecrate ourselves and be ready to move from our position and follow God when He moves.

God is wanting to use us to change this world for His glory.  He wants us to stand in the river and hold back the waters.  The priests stood in the Jordan River and God used them to hold back the waters so the Israelites could cross over.  Are you ready for God to use you to hold back the waters so those around you can cross over to their destiny in God?

He cannot use us when we are caught up in ourselves, our needs, our responsibilities, or our accomplishments.   May we decide today to simply be caught up in God and what He is doing.  Lord we pray that you would use us to hold back the water so others can cross over.

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Designed for Victory

Jesus sacrifice on the cross brought us forgiveness of sins.  He redeemed us to God.  We can have a relationship with God.  We can pray, worship, read the Bible and He reveals himself to us.  I don’t know how God does it, I just KNOW He does.  When I am struggling emotionally I begin to turn my focus on God and worship Him.  The things around me didn’t change, but being in His presence helped me to focus my thoughts on God.  I am allowing Him to work and move in my heart.  I am then filled with peace instead of anxiety.

After the birth of our second daughter I experienced this peace that passes all understanding.  I had a miscarriage four months before I found out I was pregnant with Alyssa.  My hormone levels were not at the levels that they needed to be.  This brought feelings of depression, anxiety, and worry.  During pregnancy these feelings subsided as my hormones were at proper levels, but came back with a vengeance after I gave birth. These feelings were so strong they totally invaded my life.  I felt as though I was in a dark pit trying so hard in my own strength to climb out.  I would try my best to climb out but would quickly slip and fall feeling like I just fell deeper.  This emotional turmoil was in part due to post partum depression.  I also realized that is was a spiritual battle.  I needed to seek medical attention as well as dig in like never before to scripture.

2 Corinthians 10:4 says the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  That is the Word of God that can demolish these strongholds.  I began to write scripture on 3 x 5 cards and place them by the kitchen sink, by bedroom and bathroom.  I prayed the Word over my life every day.

During this time of intense emotional turmoil as I memorized scripture and prayed it over my life God began to work in a miraculous way.  He pulled me out of me emotional despair.  The path that God led me to dive into scripture during this time has stayed with me.  I studied scripture before, but God walked with me through this journey to show me His grace, mercy and strength.  He also, gave me such a hunger and love for studying His Word.   He revealed Himself to me in such a way it is hard for me to express in words.  His word is the source of my life.

I know I am designed by God for His purpose.  Satan’s plan in the Garden to deceive, steal and kill is still very real today, but Jesus paid the price.  Jesus died on the cross for my sin, shame and pain.  His blood covers my life and sets me free.  Even though there is enmity between Satan and woman we can arise in God confidence knowing He designed us for victory.

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Once Upon A Time

 

We all love once upon a time, or in the beginning stories. They are especially great when they end with happily ever after. The best in the beginning story is found in Genesis. It is the story of creation. Each day God recounts what He created with His word. On day six, it is recorded that God created man in His own image. He then caused man to fall in a deep sleep and created woman. They, man and woman, lived in the Garden of Eden with no sin, shame or pain. This was God’s plan. At some point in this wonderful life the woman became deceived. In her deception she ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and then offered it to Adam. This deception that led to sin caused separation from God. This act of sin made them realize their nakedness. See they were enjoying the freedom of communion with God, acceptance, love, and self worth. Now they realized their nakedness and tried to cover themselves. Shame and insecurity entered the realm of human feelings.

God’s plan was for us to live in confidence, joy, peace, and a life without sin. Basically a perfect or euphoric life. When sin entered the life of Adam and Eve it changed everything. N longer was communion with God a way of life. Adam and Eve freely walked and lived in the garden without shame. There was total and complete joy. It is hard to imagine a life without conflict and struggle. It existed in the Garden of Eden. After sin entered Adam and Eve’s life things changed dramatically. This affected humankind throughout history.
Man no longer had access to God and communion with Him. In Genesis three we see that enmity will be between Satan and the woman. She will have great increase in pain in childbearing, her desire will be for her husband and he will rule over her. Enmity is hate that grown with time. So Satan’s hate grows stronger against the woman as time goes on. As I think about this I am aware that Satan’s hate has grown very strong against us. See this is not just an Eve thing. Satan has enmity against me and you. He seeks and desires to kill every positive thought, every joy, peace, good relationship. Anything good in your life. The gift of giving birth will now come with much pain. Women will strive for position, but will not attain it for her husband will rule over her. In other words, her struggle will be to be someone, to gain a position, to figure out who she is. In this pursuit she will come up empty.

I have good news ladies! Jesus changed all of that for us. He opened the door to joy, peace, confidence and a personal relationship with God. No longer is there separation between God and us. We are in communion with Him. Satan’s plan is to kill and destroy, but by the blood of Christ He is defeated. We have a Savior who walks and talks with us through anything, including child bearing. Yes, there is still pain but Jesus gives strength and mercy to endure the pain. In our sinful nature we desire position and recognition over others but by the blood of Christ our position and identity are found in Him. We can let go of the struggle and give it to God. Through Jesus we can live the “Garden of Eden” life.

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Make It LOUD

Martha Munizzi’s new CD “Make It Loud” recently released.  I had the privilege, along with many others, to attend the live recording.  During that incredible worship service God spoke to me and began to challenge me personally.  I love how God doesn’t leave us where we are in any area of our life.  He continues to change us, rearrange us, move us, challenge us and grow us.  He began to ask me questions during this time:  What are you doing to make Me big and loud?  What are you doing to make My forgiveness loud?  What are you doing to make My mercy and grace loud?

My answers  were not BIG enough.  I was not taking advantage of the opportunities in front of me to make God BIG to others in my life that do not know Him.  I was going to the grocery store, shopping at the mall, and talking to neighbors without making God BIG and LOUD.  God responded with, “What are you going to do then?”  My heart’s cry is to make a difference for God’s Kingdom; to bring people to the one and only answer, God.  I chose that night to make a conscience effort to make God LOUD to my world.   The things that I am doing are so simple and easy to so many people, but for me it is a challenge.  I began to notice and truly pay attention to the cashier when I am checking out at a store.  I try to pay attention to their demeanor and ask how they are doing and try to offer some truth about God.  I am doing my best to open my “spiritual” ears to hear God speaking in the midst of life to know who He desires for me to minister His love and forgiveness.

I have to make a conscience effort to live this way.  It is so easy for me to get up every day and spend my time with God praying, worshipping and reading the Bible then leave and live my life.  It is so easy to get engulfed in my life, my responsibilities, my ministry, my kids, etc.  None of it is mine anyway, it is ALL God’s.  I am just a steward of the things and people He has entrusted to me.

God has given me a burden for women and girls enslaved in human sex trafficking and teenage mothers.  I really didn’t know what to do with this.  As I have prayed and God has placed me in contact with others I am ready to step out like I talked about earlier.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, God just wants me to step.  I will share more about all of the details later, but it involves purses, parties, and giving.  I am excited about what God wants to do in His world where He has placed me.  He is refining me daily.  For that I am so thankful!

I am thankful for worship leaders like Martha who are not afraid to “Make It Loud”.  She stepped out and did what God was telling her to do and because of that others like me will do the same thing.  I decided to purchase the “Make It Loud” bracelet from her website.  I wanted to have it and wear it as a reminder to me to make God’s love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness LOUD!

How are you making God LOUD to others around you?

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Generations

Our youngest daughter, Alyssa, completed memory verses, activities, and workbook pages for a girls program through church.  When the girls complete the requirements there is a crowning service in which they are given a charge to continue to live a life devoted to God.  A tiara is placed on their head and a medal around there neck.  The girls wear a white dress similar to those worn for first communion.  We all went out for breakfast and then onto to have manis and pedis.  Alyssa had her hair done as well.  She looked absolutely beautiful.  My Mom, Aunt, Uncle, Cousins daughter  and Sister-in-law were here for the special occasion.

My Mom, Aunt and sister-in-law , and myself were all involved in the Missionette program, or as it is known now, Mpact Girls.  I completed the program as a student and went on to teach as well.  As I was placing the tiara on Alyssa head I had tears well up in my eyes.  Thinking about the Christian heritage in my family.  At that moment  three generations in my family that the Missionette program impacted were gathered to see Alyssa crowned.  What a legacy of God’s grace and faithfulness.

I see this time and again as I look at my two girls.  God is working and moving in their lives in ways beyond what I could imagine.   Generations of prayer and faithfulness to God are manifested in my daughters lives.   I am so thankful that the heritage of faithfulness to God is not just in my family, but my husband’s family as well.  On this Father’s Day I remember my Dad that passed away 13 years ago, as well as Matt’s Dad, Jim.  They both left a legacy of  lives devoted fully to God.  They loved their family and modeled what a real man is.  We are experiencing God’s goodness and blessing because of the life they modeled in front of us.

This journey of  life can take many different twists and turns.  I am thankful that I have a family that walks with God every step of the way.  I love looking back at God’s faithfulness and allowing the remembering to encourage me to keep moving on.  The Godly heritage doesn’t stop here.  As we continue to serve and honor God we will see more generations to come leaving a legacy of a life devoted fully to God.

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He Leads Me

While I was on a walk recently I decided to walk around one of the ponds.  That day the water in the pond was still and glass like.  I was enjoying my walk, worshipping God,  and enjoying His wonderful creation.  I began to think of Psalm 23.  He leads me beside still or quiet waters… God by His Spirit began to speak deep into my heart and mind.  We are all familiar with this passage of scripture and sometimes familiarity can cause us to read quickly and not allow God to speak to us a new fresh word.

As I looked at the pond in it’s complete stillness God’s peace overwhelmed me.   At this time in my life I was in the middle of what felt like my life was out of control.  My personnel schedule was crazy, our family schedule was busy as well, and other demands on me  were weighing heavy.  I needed peace in my life. God led me to the pond that day physically, but he also led me spiritually.  He led me beside the quiet, still water of His presence.  His presence that brings life.   God desires to bring stillness and quiet into our lives even when it feels chaotic.   We simply need to rest in Him and follow Him to the quiet, still water.

When water is that still the reflection is incredible.  If water if flowing and moving there is no reflection. When we choose to surrender to God’s leading to the quiet water we will no longer see our life or our face.  We will see God’s face in the reflection of the water.  We become consumed with Him and no longer with the cares of our life, our dreams, our desires.  We are following His leading allowing Him to lead us beside quiet waters and our being will be consumed by everything He is.

Whether we are experiencing rest, busyness,struggle or normalcy of life everyday God is waiting to lead us beside quiet waters and help us see Him and only Him!  Let Him lead you today….

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